Electronically Assisted Voting

At the 2018 State Election ECSA is working in partnership with the Royal Society for the Blind to offer a trial of electronically assisted voting for electors with a vision impairment. This voting service is called VoteAssist.

What is VoteAssist?

VoteAssist is voting software that was used at the Western Australian State Election in 2013. It uses specially designed computer terminals coupled with headphones and a numeric keypad. Audio prompts guide the elector through the voting process.

Once an elector has completed their ballots, the audio prompt will confirm the preferences and then print the ballot papers. A ballot box will be situated on the table next to the keypad. The elector folds the ballot papers and inserts them into a declaration envelope. The envelope is then placed into the ballot box.

Do the VoteAssist terminals have computer monitors?

VoteAssist is designed to be accessible to electors with no vision. However,  the terminals do include large monitors that display the ballot papers and the preferences as they are entered. 

Where and when can I use VoteAssist?

VoteAssist will be available at three Royal Society for the Blind (RSB) locations:

  1.   230 Pirie Street, Adelaide
  2.   27 Anderson Walk, Smithfield
  3.   58 Dyson Road, Noarlunga Downs

The service will be available at all three of these locations between 9am and 5pm on nine business days:

  • Monday 5 March to Friday 9 March.
  • Tuesday 13 March to Friday 16 March.

Do I have to make a booking to use VoteAssist? How do I book?

It is not compulsory to make a booking, but we encourage you to book in advance to minimise any waiting time.

The booking service will open from Monday 12 February. To make a booking telephone the RSB on 1300 944 306.

Will VoteAssist store any information about me or my vote?

No. Once the ballot is printed all data is removed from the system. 

Is it compulsory for electors with a vision impairment to use VoteAssist?

Electronically assisted voting at one of the three RSB locations is optional. If voters prefer to, they can vote using paper ballots instead, either at a regular polling place or by requesting a postal vote. A voter using VoteAssist is welcome to quit the system at any time, but will then need to vote using paper ballots, either at a regular polling place or by post.

Election officials will be happy to assist the voter if required, when using VoteAssist or using paper ballots.

Many South Australian electors with a vision impairment choose to vote using a postal vote. If this is your preference you are most welcome to continue voting this way. There is no obligation for you to vote using VoteAssist. 

How long will it take to vote using VoteAssist?

The amount of time it will take depends on how you choose to vote. 

If you choose to vote above the line on the Legislative Council ballot, the entire voting process can take less than 15 minutes.

If you choose to vote below the line on the Legislative Council ballot, you should allow at least 30 minutes to complete your ballots.

Is electronically assisted voting governed by legislation?

Yes. The legislation that governs electronicaly assisted voting in South Australia is the Electoral Act 1985, sections 84A and 84B, and the Electoral Regulations.

Can electors without a vision impairment use VoteAssist?

No. The legislation sets out that electronically assisted voting is specifically for sight-impaired electors.

Will there be assistance to help me use VoteAssist?

VoteAssist is intended to be used without assistance. However, trained polling officials sourced from the RSB will be on hand to offer assistance if required.

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